No Exit: How not to resign

Dec 02 2013, 13:17 IST
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SummaryWhen Richard Nixon quit office in the 70s, his letter to the Secretary of State went like this

When Richard Nixon quit office in the 70s, his letter to the Secretary of State went like this: I hereby resign the office of the President of the United States. Twelve words. Thats it. Cut to 2013, for those following the Tehelka saga that is playing out in real time, the resignation letters being passed around on Twitter could compete with PhD thesis. Without going into the issue, if you actually had the patience to read any of them, since they spill into several pages, the one striking point is, almost nobody resigns like that. Whatever happened to Dear sir, I quit, Yours sincerely? And if you must, maybe just one platitude to sound pleasant.

Granted, this is an unusual situation with lawyers deliberating over every word, new murky details surfacing, and ex-employees getting virulent on national news. Its unusual in India, but there are enough examples of people who quit in as public and destructive a manner as possible. Theres the Goldman Sachs Vice-President, who resigned and wrote why in a wildly popular New York Times Opinion piece that was hugely damaging for the company. The most bizarre resignation has to be of a US flight attendant who got into an argument with a passenger about overhead luggage that fell on his head. He delivered a profanity laced resignation over the planes public address system which concluded with him telling all the one hundred passengers aboard to go lump it.

Salaried employees are taxed the most, have the longest hours and the least job security. A lot of us may dream of telling our bosses off on the day we quit or get fired, but its always wiser to exit quietly than to raise hell. Only, so that in the future if you want to go back to a particular company your reputation is not that of being an HR nightmare. Because, the depressing reality in todays job market is that unless you work for a call centre (theyre always short of people), chances are you need the organisation a lot more than it needs you. Any corporate guru would advise once youve put in your papers, its not the right time to tell management whats wrong with company policy. The time to criticise is when youre well entrenched and nothing you say can be construed as sour grapes. Leaving with a bang almost never works out, and

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